Tomaso Poggio

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McDermott Professor at BCS at MIT

  • Biologically-plausible learning algorithms can scale to large datasets

    The backpropagation (BP) algorithm is often thought to be biologically implausible in the brain. One of the main reasons is that BP requires symmetric weight matrices in the feedforward and feedback pathways. To address this "weight transport problem" (Grossberg, 1987), two more biologically plausible algorithms, proposed by Liao et al. (2016) and Lillicrap et al. (2016), relax BP's weight symmetry requirements and demonstrate comparable learning capabilities to that of BP on small datasets. However, a recent study by Bartunov et al. (2018) evaluate variants of target-propagation (TP) and feedback alignment (FA) on MINIST, CIFAR, and ImageNet datasets, and find that although many of the proposed algorithms perform well on MNIST and CIFAR, they perform significantly worse than BP on ImageNet. Here, we additionally evaluate the sign-symmetry algorithm (Liao et al., 2016), which differs from both BP and FA in that the feedback and feedforward weights share signs but not magnitudes. We examine the performance of sign-symmetry and feedback alignment on ImageNet and MS COCO datasets using different network architectures (ResNet-18 and AlexNet for ImageNet, RetinaNet for MS COCO). Surprisingly, networks trained with sign-symmetry can attain classification performance approaching that of BP-trained networks. These results complement the study by Bartunov et al. (2018), and establish a new benchmark for future biologically plausible learning algorithms on more difficult datasets and more complex architectures.

    11/08/2018 ∙ by Will Xiao, et al. ∙ 18 share

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  • A Surprising Linear Relationship Predicts Test Performance in Deep Networks

    Given two networks with the same training loss on a dataset, when would they have drastically different test losses and errors? Better understanding of this question of generalization may improve practical applications of deep networks. In this paper we show that with cross-entropy loss it is surprisingly simple to induce significantly different generalization performances for two networks that have the same architecture, the same meta parameters and the same training error: one can either pretrain the networks with different levels of "corrupted" data or simply initialize the networks with weights of different Gaussian standard deviations. A corollary of recent theoretical results on overfitting shows that these effects are due to an intrinsic problem of measuring test performance with a cross-entropy/exponential-type loss, which can be decomposed into two components both minimized by SGD -- one of which is not related to expected classification performance. However, if we factor out this component of the loss, a linear relationship emerges between training and test losses. Under this transformation, classical generalization bounds are surprisingly tight: the empirical/training loss is very close to the expected/test loss. Furthermore, the empirical relation between classification error and normalized cross-entropy loss seem to be approximately monotonic

    07/25/2018 ∙ by Qianli Liao, et al. ∙ 10 share

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  • Theory IIIb: Generalization in Deep Networks

    A main puzzle of deep neural networks (DNNs) revolves around the apparent absence of "overfitting", defined in this paper as follows: the expected error does not get worse when increasing the number of neurons or of iterations of gradient descent. This is surprising because of the large capacity demonstrated by DNNs to fit randomly labeled data and the absence of explicit regularization. Recent results by Srebro et al. provide a satisfying solution of the puzzle for linear networks used in binary classification. They prove that minimization of loss functions such as the logistic, the cross-entropy and the exp-loss yields asymptotic, "slow" convergence to the maximum margin solution for linearly separable datasets, independently of the initial conditions. Here we prove a similar result for nonlinear multilayer DNNs near zero minima of the empirical loss. The result holds for exponential-type losses but not for the square loss. In particular, we prove that the weight matrix at each layer of a deep network converges to a minimum norm solution up to a scale factor (in the separable case). Our analysis of the dynamical system corresponding to gradient descent of a multilayer network suggests a simple criterion for ranking the generalization performance of different zero minimizers of the empirical loss.

    06/29/2018 ∙ by Tomaso Poggio, et al. ∙ 2 share

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  • Fisher-Rao Metric, Geometry, and Complexity of Neural Networks

    We study the relationship between geometry and capacity measures for deep neural networks from an invariance viewpoint. We introduce a new notion of capacity --- the Fisher-Rao norm --- that possesses desirable invariance properties and is motivated by Information Geometry. We discover an analytical characterization of the new capacity measure, through which we establish norm-comparison inequalities and further show that the new measure serves as an umbrella for several existing norm-based complexity measures. We discuss upper bounds on the generalization error induced by the proposed measure. Extensive numerical experiments on CIFAR-10 support our theoretical findings. Our theoretical analysis rests on a key structural lemma about partial derivatives of multi-layer rectifier networks.

    11/05/2017 ∙ by Tengyuan Liang, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Streaming Normalization: Towards Simpler and More Biologically-plausible Normalizations for Online and Recurrent Learning

    We systematically explored a spectrum of normalization algorithms related to Batch Normalization (BN) and propose a generalized formulation that simultaneously solves two major limitations of BN: (1) online learning and (2) recurrent learning. Our proposal is simpler and more biologically-plausible. Unlike previous approaches, our technique can be applied out of the box to all learning scenarios (e.g., online learning, batch learning, fully-connected, convolutional, feedforward, recurrent and mixed --- recurrent and convolutional) and compare favorably with existing approaches. We also propose Lp Normalization for normalizing by different orders of statistical moments. In particular, L1 normalization is well-performing, simple to implement, fast to compute, more biologically-plausible and thus ideal for GPU or hardware implementations.

    10/19/2016 ∙ by Qianli Liao, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • View-tolerant face recognition and Hebbian learning imply mirror-symmetric neural tuning to head orientation

    The primate brain contains a hierarchy of visual areas, dubbed the ventral stream, which rapidly computes object representations that are both specific for object identity and relatively robust against identity-preserving transformations like depth-rotations. Current computational models of object recognition, including recent deep learning networks, generate these properties through a hierarchy of alternating selectivity-increasing filtering and tolerance-increasing pooling operations, similar to simple-complex cells operations. While simulations of these models recapitulate the ventral stream's progression from early view-specific to late view-tolerant representations, they fail to generate the most salient property of the intermediate representation for faces found in the brain: mirror-symmetric tuning of the neural population to head orientation. Here we prove that a class of hierarchical architectures and a broad set of biologically plausible learning rules can provide approximate invariance at the top level of the network. While most of the learning rules do not yield mirror-symmetry in the mid-level representations, we characterize a specific biologically-plausible Hebb-type learning rule that is guaranteed to generate mirror-symmetric tuning to faces tuning at intermediate levels of the architecture.

    06/05/2016 ∙ by Joel Z. Leibo, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Bridging the Gaps Between Residual Learning, Recurrent Neural Networks and Visual Cortex

    We discuss relations between Residual Networks (ResNet), Recurrent Neural Networks (RNNs) and the primate visual cortex. We begin with the observation that a shallow RNN is exactly equivalent to a very deep ResNet with weight sharing among the layers. A direct implementation of such a RNN, although having orders of magnitude fewer parameters, leads to a performance similar to the corresponding ResNet. We propose 1) a generalization of both RNN and ResNet architectures and 2) the conjecture that a class of moderately deep RNNs is a biologically-plausible model of the ventral stream in visual cortex. We demonstrate the effectiveness of the architectures by testing them on the CIFAR-10 dataset.

    04/13/2016 ∙ by Qianli Liao, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Deep Convolutional Networks are Hierarchical Kernel Machines

    In i-theory a typical layer of a hierarchical architecture consists of HW modules pooling the dot products of the inputs to the layer with the transformations of a few templates under a group. Such layers include as special cases the convolutional layers of Deep Convolutional Networks (DCNs) as well as the non-convolutional layers (when the group contains only the identity). Rectifying nonlinearities -- which are used by present-day DCNs -- are one of the several nonlinearities admitted by i-theory for the HW module. We discuss here the equivalence between group averages of linear combinations of rectifying nonlinearities and an associated kernel. This property implies that present-day DCNs can be exactly equivalent to a hierarchy of kernel machines with pooling and non-pooling layers. Finally, we describe a conjecture for theoretically understanding hierarchies of such modules. A main consequence of the conjecture is that hierarchies of trained HW modules minimize memory requirements while computing a selective and invariant representation.

    08/05/2015 ∙ by Fabio Anselmi, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Pruning Convolutional Neural Networks for Image Instance Retrieval

    In this work, we focus on the problem of image instance retrieval with deep descriptors extracted from pruned Convolutional Neural Networks (CNN). The objective is to heavily prune convolutional edges while maintaining retrieval performance. To this end, we introduce both data-independent and data-dependent heuristics to prune convolutional edges, and evaluate their performance across various compression rates with different deep descriptors over several benchmark datasets. Further, we present an end-to-end framework to fine-tune the pruned network, with a triplet loss function specially designed for the retrieval task. We show that the combination of heuristic pruning and fine-tuning offers 5x compression rate without considerable loss in retrieval performance.

    07/18/2017 ∙ by Gaurav Manek, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Do Deep Neural Networks Suffer from Crowding?

    Crowding is a visual effect suffered by humans, in which an object that can be recognized in isolation can no longer be recognized when other objects, called flankers, are placed close to it. In this work, we study the effect of crowding in artificial Deep Neural Networks for object recognition. We analyze both standard deep convolutional neural networks (DCNNs) as well as a new version of DCNNs which is 1) multi-scale and 2) with size of the convolution filters change depending on the eccentricity wrt to the center of fixation. Such networks, that we call eccentricity-dependent, are a computational model of the feedforward path of the primate visual cortex. Our results reveal that the eccentricity-dependent model, trained on target objects in isolation, can recognize such targets in the presence of flankers, if the targets are near the center of the image, whereas DCNNs cannot. Also, for all tested networks, when trained on targets in isolation, we find that recognition accuracy of the networks decreases the closer the flankers are to the target and the more flankers there are. We find that visual similarity between the target and flankers also plays a role and that pooling in early layers of the network leads to more crowding. Additionally, we show that incorporating the flankers into the images of the training set does not improve performance with crowding.

    06/26/2017 ∙ by Anna Volokitin, et al. ∙ 0 share

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  • Theory II: Landscape of the Empirical Risk in Deep Learning

    Previous theoretical work on deep learning and neural network optimization tend to focus on avoiding saddle points and local minima. However, the practical observation is that, at least in the case of the most successful Deep Convolutional Neural Networks (DCNNs), practitioners can always increase the network size to fit the training data (an extreme example would be [1]). The most successful DCNNs such as VGG and ResNets are best used with a degree of "overparametrization". In this work, we characterize with a mix of theory and experiments, the landscape of the empirical risk of overparametrized DCNNs. We first prove in the regression framework the existence of a large number of degenerate global minimizers with zero empirical error (modulo inconsistent equations). The argument that relies on the use of Bezout theorem is rigorous when the RELUs are replaced by a polynomial nonlinearity (which empirically works as well). As described in our Theory III [2] paper, the same minimizers are degenerate and thus very likely to be found by SGD that will furthermore select with higher probability the most robust zero-minimizer. We further experimentally explored and visualized the landscape of empirical risk of a DCNN on CIFAR-10 during the entire training process and especially the global minima. Finally, based on our theoretical and experimental results, we propose an intuitive model of the landscape of DCNN's empirical loss surface, which might not be as complicated as people commonly believe.

    03/28/2017 ∙ by Qianli Liao, et al. ∙ 0 share

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